US PGA Championship: Tiger needs to bring end to back-nine blues




US PGA Championship: Tiger needs to bring end to back-nine blues
US PGA Championship: Tiger needs to bring end to back-nine blues  

Tiger Woods will have a chance of ending his decade-long major drought when he begins the final round of the US PGA Championship four shots off the lead.

Former world number one Woods completed a second-round 66 at Bellerive on Saturday morning, then carded the same score in his third round to share sixth place at eight under, four behind front-runner Brooks Koepka.

The 14-time major champion's last PGA Tour win came in 2013, but he has frequently contended for trophies this year - exceeding expectations by playing regularly and impressively on his return from a fourth back surgery.

However, Woods has so far struggled to produce his best form at the business end of tournaments - often fading over the closing holes in contrast to the ruthless finishes he was famed for at his peak.

We take a look at how Tiger has fared this season when in contention on the final day.

VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP (March 11)

In only his fourth start of the year and less than six months on from acknowledging he may never play again, Woods thrilled spectators in Florida by surging into contention at the Valspar Championship.

He began the final round tied for second at eight under alongside Justin Rose and Brandt Snedeker, with only the unheralded Corey Conners ahead of him.

Woods then birdied the first hole on Sunday, but could not generate any momentum thereafter, playing the next 15 holes in one over par with 14 pars and a solitary bogey.

A spectacular birdie at the 17th kept his victory hopes alive, but a closing par saw him card a one-under 70 and finish one shot behind Paul Casey, who stormed through the field with a 65.

ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL (March 18)

Woods certainly had no problem picking up shots in the final round a week later at the Arnold Palmer Invitational - a tournament he has won on eight occasions.

Six birdies in his first 13 holes offset a solitary bogey and lifted Woods, who started the day 10th, to within a shot of the lead amid increasing excitement.

There were to be no more gains for Tiger, though, and a wild drive out of bounds at the par-five 16th resulted in the first of two successive bogeys that dropped him into a tie for fifth as Rory McIlroy charged to an emphatic victory.

THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP (May 13)

It was a similar story at the Players Championship in May as Woods again shone on Sunday, only to falter over the closing holes.

On this occasion, he made six birdies in the first 12 holes, closing the gap on runaway leader Webb Simpson to four shots.

However, Woods then bogeyed the 14th and double-bogeyed the iconic par-three 17th after finding water off the tee. He finished tied-11th, seven off the pace.

THE OPEN (July 22)

At Carnoustie, Woods began the final round in the same position he finds himself at Bellerive - four off the lead.

By the turn, he held the outright lead at seven under and appeared set to crown a stunning comeback with his 15th major title.

Once again, Woods could not maintain the fine form he showed on the front nine. A double bogey at 11 was swiftly followed by another dropped shot at the next hole and Tiger had to settle for a share of sixth as playing partner Francesco Molinari triumphed.

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